Russia-Ukraine live: Bakhmut counterattack ‘very soon’, says Kyiv
- Ukrainian troops will launch a counterassault on Bakhmut “very soon” as Russia’s winter offensive loses steam, Ukraine’s Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi said.
- Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s ex-president, said any attempt to arrest President Vladimir Putin after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant would amount to a declaration of war against Russia.
Moscow does not expect transparent Nord Stream investigation: Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow did not expect an investigation into the Nord Stream gas pipelines to be transparent.
Moscow has repeatedly complained that it has not been informed about Denmark, Germany and Sweden’s investigation into the unsolved explosions, which Moscow has called an act of “international terrorism”.
Poland to seek additional funds for Ukraine
Poland will seek an additional 240 million euros ($261 million) in EU funding to refinance military purchases for Ukraine, the Polish prime minister said.
“Poland has already received about 200 million zlotys to refinance arms purchases for Ukraine,” Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters in Brussels ahead of an EU summit.
“We want to…obtain 240 million euros, another billion zlotys, for Poland.”
Estonian PM against weakening Russian sanctions
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas spoke against weakening Russian sanctions under a deal to export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea and called for the G7 to raise the cap.
“We know that Russia is earning less from the oil… we see the economic sanctions, including the oil price cap, are having an effect on the Russian economy and their ability to fuel the war machine,” she said on arriving to talks among the EU’s 27 national leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.
“We should continue with that,” she said, adding that Estonia would agree to raise the cap again should oil prices rise.
Russia regains control over Kreminna approaches: British MoD
According to a daily British Ministry of Defence update, “heavy fighting” has continued on the Luhansk front line since the beginning of March.
“Russia has partially regained control over the immediate approaches to Kremina town, which was under immediate Ukrainian threat earlier in the year,” the ministry’s update said.
“In places, Russia has made gains of up to several kilometres. Russian commanders are likely trying to expand a security zone west from the defence lines they have prepared along the higher ground and integrate the natural obstacle of the Oskil River,” it added.The ministry also found that in the northeast of Ukraine, Russian forces are keeping a defensive position as commanders “probably fear” that it’s a place where Ukraine could launch a counterattack.
Any attempt to arrest Putin is a declaration of war: Medvedev
Former President Dmitry Medvedev said that any attempt to arrest President Vladimir Putin after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant would amount to a declaration of war.
“Let’s imagine – obviously this situation which will never be realised – but nevertheless, lets imagine that it was realised: The current head of the nuclear state went to a territory, say Germany, and was arrested,” Medvedev said.
“What would that be? It would be a declaration of war on the Russian Federation,” he said in a video posted on Telegram.
“And in that case, all our assets – all our missiles et cetera – would fly to the Bundestag, to the Chancellor’s office.”The ICC issued an arrest warrant on Friday, accusing Putin of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.
EU leaders and UN chief to discuss war in Ukraine
European Union leaders will discuss the war in Ukraine, including food security and sanctions, with UN chief Antonio Guterres, diplomats and officials said.
Guterres will be a guest at an EU summit in Brussels, days after the renewal of a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey on the safe export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.
Zelenskyy is expected to provide diplomats with an update on the situation on the ground via video link.
“We will, as always, reaffirm our unwavering commitment to assist Ukraine,” declared Charles Michel, president of the European Council of EU leaders.The leaders will also announce a plan agreed upon by foreign ministers on Monday to send a million artillery shells to Ukraine over the next year to aid its defence efforts.
China’s Xi to meet Spanish counterpart to boost support as mediator
Chinese President Xi Jinping has invited Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to Beijing for a state visit as Xi tries to boost support for China’s peace proposal for Ukraine.
Spain’s Minister for the Presidency Felix Bolanos confirmed late on Wednesday that Sanchez would visit China on March 30-31, citing Xi’s “possible mediation in the war in Ukraine” as a critical reason for the visit.
Spain takes over the EU’s rotating presidency in July, with Sanchez portraying Madrid as a staunch NATO ally of Ukraine.
Xi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week to promote Beijing’s peace plan for Ukraine, which Putin said could be a basis for ending the conflict.
Ukraine to launch Bakhmut counterattack ‘very soon’: General
Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut will launch a counterassault “very soon”, Ukraine’s top ground forces commander said.
On Telegram, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi said Russia’s Wagner mercenaries “are losing considerable strength and are running out of steam”.
“Very soon, we will take advantage of this opportunity, as we did in the past near Kyiv, Kharkiv, Balakliya and Kupiansk,” he said, listing Ukrainian counteroffensives last year that proved turning points in the war.
On Monday, the Wagner chief published a letter to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, saying Ukraine aimed to cut off his forces from Russia’s regular troops, demanding Shoigu act to prevent this and warning of “negative consequences” if he failed.